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The latest in concrete and wood for your yard!

By Debbie L. Sklar

Amazing New Trends
Cool Concrete Options: According to Sarah Hutchinson, who does content development for ConcreteNetwork.com, the latest and greatest in patterns for concrete and overlays  is customization.

“This includes hand-carving joints to get a more authentic stone look,” she says. “In addition, the trend toward modern design has resulted in a shift away from distinct patterns toward more subtle, seamless textures.”

Of course concrete is still the reigning material for home patios coast to coast. “It’s because of its affordability, design versatility and durability,” Hutchinson says. “Concrete can be made to look like virtually any other material (including wood). Contractors are getting better at texturing and coloring the surface for the most authentic appearance.”

In terms of colored concrete if you are wondering if it’s in or out, Hutchinson says it depends on who you ask.

“Gray concrete is being used to complement the modern industrial architectural style that  is currently popular. However, in most cases, the concrete is still colored integral to give it  a bit more warmth than the mix would have  on its own. For houses with a more rustic  or ranch style, natural colors such as browns and tans are the preference. The idea is to simulate the color of natural stone. Many contractors are now using multiple stain colors to create variation and highlights that are  quite realistic,” she says.

When thinking of concentrate for outdoors,  she said three things homeowners should know about concrete include:
•   It offers more customization options than       any other material.
•   It needs to be sealed to protect it from        the weather.
•   It is not indestructible.
•   Problems can happen if it’s not installed         properly. Hire a reputable contractor.

The Decks Have It
Decks: According to Geoff Case, decking and lumber merchant, decks continue to be a popular addition to any yard.

“The trend now is to use decks like a functional outdoor living room. Many homeowners will cover one section of the deck with a pergola or shade structure where they have outdoor furniture, outdoor rugs and other décor, leaving a smaller portion of the deck uncovered for their grill / outdoor kitchen. This combination creates a comfortable and inviting space to enjoy and entertain,” Case says.

In fact, survey results show that homeowners are looking for ways to upgrade and enhance their outdoor living spaces. Decks and patios lend themselves to this trend very well – especially considering all the quick, easy and affordable ways to bring the indoors out – transforming a deck into an outdoor living room with the right features, furniture and décor, Case says.

This also means homeowners may wish to invest more in the quality of their deck materials. Many options in composite decking, for example, come with 20+ year warrantees that protect against color fade and stain. Quality like that can help ensure homeowners are spending more time enjoying their decks rather than constantly maintaining them.

Whatever way you plan to bring new life to your backyard or start from scratch, be sure to check with an expert to make sure it gets completed without any problems. Summer should be easy, breezy and comfortable with these ideas and trends in place!